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You’ll Know What I Did This Summer II.

30 Sep

First, some notes on swankiness.

This morning I broke my brand new swanky Colgate 360 Sonic Power vibrating toothbrush (behave) by being too heavy handed when investigating where the battery lived. I don’t need to know where the battery lives yet. He’s factory fresh and ready for sonic action. Furthermore, when using the vibrations  as a tongue scrubber (this was pre-destruction), I found the quivering action near that thing at the back of your throat that looks like a little punch-bag actually increases the likelihood of the dreaded early morning wretch. You don’t need it do you, but you always like to test just how far back you can scrub your tongue.

On the weekend I dropped the stylus from my swanky phone into an open can of Sprite. I have no idea how I did it, but being thirsty I didn’t want to tip the Sprite away, nor did I want to risk cutting my little fingers to pieces by trying to fish it out. I had to drink my stylus out of his fizzy pop prison. It was a rescue operation the likes of which have not been seen since Lassie saved Timmy from the well. But with greater risk of an embarrassing choking related death.

Ever since I insisted to my Mother that she was not going to cut my hair any more… so from the age of about eleven (shut up, you), I have been going to swanky hairdressers. They charge you extortionate prices which makes you wonder if its based on a rate of a few pence per hair strand that brushes against the scissors. And very rarely every give you the haircut which you ask them for. I discovered recently I can go get my hair cut for a fiver in the hairdressers in the basement at work.  Also, I’ve got an undercut on one side of my head which I have also taken to getting my housemate Rob to have a go at when it gets to what I like to call ‘new-born chick tuftiness’. Much better deal that I think.

Conclusion? I reject swankiness.

Onto the blog!

Chapter Two: Oh I Do Like To Be Beside The Seaside … Unless It’s Pebbly or Strewn With Condoms and Rubbish.

My summer was actually bookended in visits to the seaside. I went to Blackpool for the day in July and then to Brighton for a daytrip with my Mummy in August. I feel like the following montage does pretty much summarise the British coastline. I particularly like the desolate wasteland at 0.14.

My friend I was with in Blackpool said ‘don’t go paddling… the water will strip the flesh from your legs’. Nice introduction to one of the country’s most beloved coastal resorts. To be fair, given we were both skint there wasn’t all that much we could do. We strolled on the beach, looking out for used johnnies and syringes amid the rubbish left on the sand. We didn’t find many. More beer cans than anything. The donkeys had a faraway look in their eye like you sometimes see depicted in films about Vietnam war veterans.

Appazza you can't go on one if you're over 8 stone these days. According to the Daily Mail, 'New welfare rules have been introduced that ban obese children from hulking their ample frames onto the back of the sturdy little animals.' I remember back in the day when Augustus Gloop could have got his rocks off on the back of a donkey. Tsch. Political correctness gone mad.

I’ve always wondered how donkeys have ended up with that gig… what have they got to do with the seaside? They’ve been pretty occupationally limited really, restricted to pulling carts of hay, working at seasides or appearing in nativity scenes. When my brother and I were little we would visit our Uncle when he lived in Rhyl, and I used to love a good donkey ride. I always went on one called ‘Silver’, he had his name on the leather strap of his reigns. My brother went on one called ‘Sally’. Once. Never again, because he cried and was scared. This has no relevance really, just thought I’d drop in my brother being scared of a weary old donkey into the mix.

Talking of tears and donkeys has reminded me of the saddest Charity advert ever.

There is something endearingly bad about Blackpool. I loved walking along the endless strip of weathered guesthouses and b&b’s with sun-faded, hand-scrawled signs and peculiar offers of entertainment in their windows. The existence of a Louis Tussaud’s makes me smile too. It’s sort of like when you go to a market where they sell well known brands like ‘Adadas’,  ‘D&C : Dolca & Cabanov’ or any others like I found on this page which made me do a ‘lol’. And the waxworks there are fantastically bad… look what they did to Kylie…

Bad Kylie.

Bad Kylie. They turned the 'pop princess' so well known for her elfin looks into something with more gremlin looks. Melt her down for the love of sweet bejeez.

But nothing, ever, will beat my now favourite waxwork of all time. Louis Tussaud’s is proud to present to you, the second in line to the throne, Prince William.

Bad William

Oh, Will. It's okay, we know you don't look like that. Reckon I could gain a more accurate likeness with a big candle, five minutes and a butter knife.

We didn’t even venture to the Pleasure Beach. A score o’ quids for that? You’re havin’ a laugh int’ ya pal?! That’s near enough the price of an Alton Towers ticket when you use one of those vouchers that absolutely every single person in the world has. I don’t know why they don’t just cut the prices of the tickets really, think of all the trees that could spend another day with their family if all the coupon paper wasn’t used. Anyway, instead, we sort of went in three different Yates’. By sort of, I mean we did, and I’m a bit of ashamed of admitting it. They aren’t even masquerading as Wine Lodges any more I don’t think.

The trip to Brighton was more pleasant and savoury. Mainly because I was with my Mummy, which makes any situation cuter. Having her there made for the more textbook family seaside trip experience. We ticked all them boxes. Fish & Chips with wooden fork. Got a bit sunburnt. Bought sticks of rock.  Sniffed the doughnut shack. Got scared by a human statue. Laughed at the rotund child who couldn’t manage very well on those bungee trampoline things. A lovely day. The only bad thing about Brighton beach is that its not a sandy one. It’s one of those pebbly ones.

The Pebbles of Brighton Beach

Brighton Beach, complete with skeletal burnt-out old pier in the background. You wouldn't like a stoll along that prom, prom, prom. You'd probably die.

There’s nothing worse when you’re a kid. Being told you get a day at the seaside, and then being told not to bother bringing your bucket and spade. What’s the point? It’s like alcohol-free beer. Obviously the latter comparison may not apply to your thoughts when you’re a kid, unless you have a ‘troubled’ background and your parents have been told to ‘grow a backbone’ by Jeremy Kyle. Not only that pebbles really aren’t very comfy to sit on. Feels a bit like having astronomic haemorrhoids. Either way, it was still a splendid day out. I avoided picking up shells. I think that’s a thing all girls do… but I never do anything with the backlog of ocean dregs I store away at home. I have so many shells and things I don’t even look at nostalgically because I can’t remember when or where I found them.

God bless the Great British holiday.


You’ll Know What I Did This Summer I.

24 Sep

So, given the fact I am so horribly poor, this summer consisted of a selection of things, none of which were a proper ‘holiday’. The squares at HSBC seem to constantly want to remind me that I have owned nowt but minus pounds for a good few years now. I always envisage my fiscal situation as being like buying in a huge grocery shop, stocking up on absolutely everything I could possibly need, putting it in my cupboard; and then there being a hungry monkey with a black hole in his tummy ready to receive it and nosh it all down quick as a flash. Or something.

Anyway. My ‘holiday’ became a visit home. Yes, I did go on a Megabus. Obv. And this is where my story begins.

Chapter One: The Curious Tale (or, Tail) of Slan Sanderson.

This may come as a surprise to some of you, but I like cats. Quite a bit; much to my darling Uncle’s disdain. He describes them as evil creatures with ‘snake’s eyes’ and ‘the only animal that will growl when it’s happy’ amongst other unsavoury things.

Anyway, mirthless relatives aside, around Christmas time at my parents’ house, there was a dear little black and white mew that would often come and say hi every now and again. My brother and I would be pleased to see her… I’d squeak and dash out to see her on the patio, going horribly girly and cuddling the (not literal) crap out of the wandering feline. After a few visits it was discovered that my abilities to ‘mew’ were even more impressive than I thought, and a small ‘meeeeeow’ out the back door would prompt our visitor to come hurtling out from bushes, corners, the top of the garden… talking a bit Usain Bolt here. But smaller and furrier and with less potential for money-spinning endorsements. Certainly no chance for representing her country either. Life is hard for creatures. Her speed and constant nearby presence was so infallible that some might find it a bit creepy in fact… but on account of the adorable face, the stalker aspect was overlooked.

EXHIBIT A: The Kitten Paw. This is a trend that I inherited from my good friend Miss Bernice Newton who cultivated the above gesture with her homeslices. The Kitten Paw is now a frequent pose within many an image containing myself, and indeed my friends. Note how my chum Gareth here has been swept up in the cat-based affectation. Many have been known to participate, and I won't be so unkind as to list the number of great hulking hetro chaps that have succumbed to its charm.

It got to a stage where we couldn’t just refer to her as ‘the cat’ and as she didn’t have a collar, we had to think of a name. Before I tell you the origins of the name that became I feel that maybe I should give you a brief background profile of my brother, Jack, who was responsible.

Quite simply, he is one of the most peculiar people you could ever wish to meet.

Jack Edward Sanderson. The Man, The Myth, The Inexplicable Creature. He's adorable.

Now, I have quite defined levels of peculiarity. There’s ‘odd’. That’s the sort of person that makes you wince a little and shift around in your chair in discomfort. I think if you ever overheard yourself being described as an ‘oddball’ you know it’s time to sharpen them razor blades.  They tend to come out with conversation that swings somewhere in-between space cadet and downright inappropriate. Includes men with comb-overs, big pockets and ‘real dolls’ waiting for them back at home.

There’s ‘weird’, as in those that live on a different planet. This isn’t necessarily a good thing. In fact ‘weird’ also encompasses people that try too hard to be ‘random’ or ‘different’ and find themselves in the line of backfire and covered head-to-toe in the spunk of social retardation.

Then there’s peculiar. Jack, is peculiar. His strange aspects to every fibre of his being makes for one of the most endearingly bizarre persons you could imagine up in that vast landscape of your imagination. I can vouch for the fact that it comes natural to him… it’s not put on or forced whatsoever. Ever since he was tiny he has babbled endless ‘clap trap’ as our Mum always called it; I think he just likes the sound of certain words.  I talk as if he’s in playgroup or something. He’s 22 years old. I’ll stop now before you have an image of him in your head that’s not too distant from Dustin Hoffman in ‘Rain Man’. Cos he’s not like that at all. He’s rubbish at counting cards.

‘LOLZ’…no he’s amazing. Seriously. Anyway…it was from the deep and peculiar depths of my dear little brother’s brain that the name ‘Slan’ appeared. It was a made up name that sort of fell off the top of his head, tumbling via his mouth. It’s clearly not even a real word. But she actually started responding to it. So it stuck. Visiting cat became ‘Slan’. You don’t know what it is to feel ridiculous until you find yourself sticking your head out into the pissing rain shouting out ‘SLAAAAAN!’ for all the neighbours to hear.

But, upon talking to a friend about this stupid choice of name, a bit of light googling came up with this… it turns out a ‘Slan’ is a real thing after all… but rather than improving the situation, it becomes even worse:

Yes, apparently 'Slan' is the title of a Science Fiction novel by one A.E van Vogt; with the synopsis being the following....'The story is classic golden age science fiction: Jommy Cross is a slan, a genetically bred superhuman whose race was created to aid humanity but is now despised by "normal" humans. Slans are usually shot on sight, but that doesn't stop Jommy's mother from bringing him to see the world capital of Centropolis, the seat of power for Earth's dictator, Kier Gray. But on their latest trip to Centropolis, the two slans are discovered, and Jommy's mother is killed. Jommy, only 9 years old, unwittingly becomes caught up in a plot to undermine Gray, who may be more sympathetic to slans than the public suspects. The nonstop action and root-for-the-underdog plot has made Slan a science fiction favorite. '....WHO KNEW?!?

Slan became a pretty regular fixture around Casa Sanderson. Upon my return home this summer she was awful pleased to see me. Over a few weeks in July and August she would visit more and more… sneaking into the house (which Dad weren’t so pleased about) and even started kipping in a box in the garage. She spent so much time with us that we started to think that maybe… she was a stray. Because we loved her so much, Dad decided to give the green light to let us keep the cutesy little blighter if it turned out that Slan had no owner.

After some nifty tricking, we managed to cram Slan into a carry case and Mum and Jack took her for an adventure to the vets to see if she was microchipped. The discovery made would not only shock, but also nearly made my smitten Mother do a cry.

Slan did have a microchip. She did have an owner.

Furthermore… she, was a he.

And he…was called… Bruce.

Bruce? Seriously??? Who calls a cat Bruce? I have a thing against pets having real-people’s names as it is…but Bruce? Anyway. ‘Bruce’ actually lived up the road and had to go back to the owners. We all sat around sad and had a communal wallow not too unlike that after an unexpected break up. Nearly put on ‘The Notebook’ and whipped out some Ben & Jerry’s and everything.

But all was not lost! The owners knocked on to explain what had been happening and it turned out that ‘Bruce’ was anything but happy at home. ‘He’ was getting bullied by two kittens and lived as an empty shell of a ‘man’ that cowered under the computer desk. ‘He’ in fact, came straight back to ours. After some discussion, the owners said they were so worried for ‘Bruce’ that they would rather ‘he’ was happy and lived with us.

And lo! ‘Bruce’ was no more and Slan became a Sanderson this summer and she moved in post haste. Feels a bit wrong forcing an incorrect gender and a stupid name on the poor thing but we love him/her very much and she is living much more happily indeed. I daresay she’s not even checked out the space underneath computer desk. I’m hoping she hasn’t hustled in and moved all her Go-Cat and mouse toys into my room when I next visit home or there will be trouble.

Slan Sanderson, the artist formerly known as Bruce. Pah... Bruce...

So yeah, cat theft. That was just one thing I’ve been up to in this quiet patch. I bet you can’t wait to see what other criminal activities have been occurring eh.

The Forgotten Month. (And a bit.)

24 Sep

When you were little, did you ever have a falling out with your parents; usually over something as benign as being told that you can’t have a choc ice, and then to make a dramatic point, ‘run away’? And then come 5pm when your tummy started rumbling and you realise you only have 10p in your pocket and that’s not even enough for a Chomp bar you have to sheepishly go back home.

Or, have you ever had a massive row with your other half and theatrically stormed out of their living room and slam the door, only to have to go back in thirty seconds later with stompy feet and grumpy face to collect your coat and keys you neglected to scoop up? Welllll… this is kind of how I’m feeling here. I have shamelessly, heartlessly and irresponsibly neglected this section of the internet. If he was a Tamagotchi he would be nothing but a pixelated little winged blob, ruefully floating on the micro-screen.

DEADAGOTCHI: It was through the multiple and consecutive deaths of both my hamsters and tamagotchi that I knew that I would be one to wait for motherhood. I do still think of you all everyday... Nippy. Otis. Leo. QT. Tam. That other one... was that one mine? Dunno... probably... well yes. Rip and that. *sob*.

If there was a facility like The Priory clinic or some kind of social services for bloglets and their creators, then I would surely be there amending this problem. But apparently there aint. Yet. So instead I’m having to do some analogue rejuvenation. Starting now. I got a bit of a kick up the backside when my good friend Sally Renshaw, Manchester-raised and now Oslo-located illustrator extraordinaire; was so kind as to include this here page on her list of yummy linkages on her website. Affectionately describing yours truly as ‘A walking dictionary in a leopard print dress.’ You can tell she’s honed her verbal skills on Twitter with such a deft boiling down of my person into so few characters.  I think it’s the strict limits on Tweeting which has caused me to never quite see eye to eye with the Twits. What do you mean I can only cram in five adjectives?? Ha. ‘The Twits’.. perhaps a way of describing the condition of someone who endlessly tweets; like the wordy consequences of eating a dodgy social kebab? ‘I’ve got the twits’.I do hope I’ve done some coining there and It’s not something that’s been already thunk.

So, here I am. Back. The past few weeks can be viewed as either a hiccup to the pessimists or a ‘Summer Break’ to those of kinder minds. Because, I have been up to a fair bit don’t you know. In fact… I intend on telling you exactly what I have been up to in the next bloglet or so. We can think of it as a review of the Summer, yes, so… all in all… I definitely and TOTALLY planned this on purpose. Yup. They will include cat theft, tv shows and rock n rollers.  Ooh I feel like I just wrote myself a tagline. For the upcoming feature… ‘You’ll Know What I Did This Summer’.

If I had a trailer, I would get Rob Schneider to play me.

That is the best quality youtube could offer? A video of a video? Jeez. I had a look around at the rest and this was the best I could find…..

See, the problem I have with you there Mr ‘1ndyProductions’ is that I don’t understand what the hell you thought you were doing. The ‘editing’ makes no sense… makes me feel a little bit nauseous… and then you invite people to rate or comment? This however, is a perfect example of one of my favourite internet pastimes. Reading comments on youtube. It’s endless entertainment seeing how ruthless the general public can be. Even better when you see a back-and-forth scrap between two faceless ‘people’ who will never meet in real life. I think I get just as engrossed as when you see a punch-up breaking out in the street. Luckily, living in Manchester, I get to see this a fair bit. Like on that day in 2008 when the 200,000 Rangers fans descended on the city… and I got the treat of seeing a road diversion sign get smashed through the window of a Wetherspoons whilst I dug in to my elevenses’ bag of crisps from the safety of the other side of the street.

It is now time for me to get some sleep. I’ve been very much broken by what is known as ‘Welcome Unwellness’. The artist formerly known as Fresher’s Flu. Working in a student’s union I have been horribly close to a lot of new students, who like to bring all of their germs as well as their mum’s toasters and fresh bed linen to Manchester when they move up. The University of Manchester has decided to abandon the term of ‘fresher’ because of its exclusive nature, and now opts for ‘Welcome Week’. So it is now the welcomelets, not the freshers that I have to shake my fist at as I snuffle and weep. More moaning to follow, I’m sure.